I play with Nerf and Nerf-related products. More specifically, Nerf guns. I’ve been playing with Nerf blasters for a little under 10 years, my first being the Missilestorm (a picture of it can be found at www.nerfcenter.com if you really care). I never really played seriously though; maybe a random fight would break out once my friends were all in my room hanging out and someone grabbed a gun, then another, and another, next thing you know it’s a standoff.

Anyway, recently I’ve stumbled onto a whole internet community full of people from many different ages that play with Nerf guns and other foam shooting blasters as well. www.nerfhaven.com, www.nerfhq.com, the aforementioned nerf center, and a few others I’m neglecting to mention are all out there chock full of discussions about Nerf guns. They talk about modifications, tactics, “war” announcements, game rules, etc. They have taken their respective firearms and made them perform more effectively, either increasing firing ranges to 100+’, or adding a clip or minimizing the frame. They play with their Nerf toys in a whole different way.

Back to the point. I have lately taken to organizing my own Nerf fights with my friends and myself. Since July, I’ve been in about 3 games of Capture the Flag. With winter coming on it looks like the guns go into storage but once the snow melts I plan to begin again.

But why do it? Why Nerf and not airsoft or paintball?

1) It’s more accessible. Experientially, economically, geographically, whatever. You don’t need heavy knowledge of military tactics (though I’m sure it helps), you don’t need a huge bankroll (at most $40 for a Nerf gun, while airsoft and paintball guns go for well over $100+heavier maintenance+added materials+gadgetry. And with airsoft or paintball it can be a lot harder to play, especially in a city like Chicago. No forests, too many people that can get caught in the crossfire, etc. Nerf is a bit more portable in that respect because we can just play in a park.

And the police. We stand less of a chance getting shot by cops holding something colored like Nerf guns are colored. That alone is a pretty good reason, along with the others I’ve mentioned.

The tactics are also a lot closer in perspective. You have to be able to see your enemy before popping them, and even then they have a pretty good chance at dodging as well. The day I can backbend out of the way of a dart shot at me is a day I pick up Nerf. And I did. And I have.

To me, Nerf is just easier. And I’ll do it as long as I can.

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